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Varlamov shows signs of improvement

Alex Ovechkin talking to some pee wees from Ukraine. Former Caps center Dainius Zubrus paid for their trip.

I'm in the midst of cranking out a story for tomorrow's paper, but I wanted to give you a quick update on today's happenings at KCI:

*Semyon Varlamov is inching toward returning to the lineup, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau. After suffering a minor setback last week, Varlamov had his best practice since straining his groin muscle on Dec. 7.

He skated hard at the start of practice and finished up by facing shooters in a shootout drill. He looked pretty sharp and did not appear to be in any discomfort.

"He's getting better," Boudreau said. "The week after Christmas, he's going to be playing one of those games. I don't know which one it will be, but it will be one of them."

*Boyd Gordon's equipment is safe and sound, by the way, and was waiting for him by Carousel No. 4 at Dulles Airport yesterday. (Read all about his Blizzard '09 adventure here.) So, as a result, the checking-line center was able to skate with his teammates today. It's unclear if the Caps are going to attempt to assign him to Hershey for a conditioning stint. But they might want to check the weather first this time.

*Despite a few minor injuries, the Caps are about as healthy as they've been all year. And that's got Boudreau excited.

"We haven't had our pre-training camp roster together at all," he said. "We're getting closer to that and hopefully we do and we'll what we need and how good we are."

*After racking up nine goals and 13 assists in his first 28 games, Brendan Morrison has cooled off considerably. The veteran went without a point for the sixth time in eight games on Saturday and has only two assists during that span.

Frustrated? Yes. But concerned? Not yet, he told me.

"It's been a tough stretch," he said. "I have to get out of it. It starts in practice, bearing down in practice and it carries over to games. I don't know why it has got to this point. I don't think I've been comfortable; I'm trying to prove myself every night. Obviously, it's a big year. I need to show I can still do this. It's a funk. I'm frustrated. I guess the silver lining is we're winning."

Boudreau said Morrison's recent rash of near misses in the opposing crease is a sign that he's the verge of snapping out of the slump.

"I saw in Edmonton and Vancouver some great chances but not scoring," he said. "Usually, that's a sign of coming out a slump. I'm not worried. He's going to come out of it and come out of it with a vengeance."

*The Caps hosted a pee wee team from the Ukraine at practice today. McPhee gave them a guided tour of the facility, and then they got to meet Alex Ovechkin, which, judging from their smiles, was likely the highlight of their young lives.

Former Caps center Dainius Zubrus paid for their trip to the States. For Zubrus, it was his way of giving back. An NHL player paid for his youth team to come over from Lithuania when he was a youngster, McPhee said, and the experience stuck with him.

*Brian Pothier (rib) did not complete practice today. He's missed five games and could be out for a bit longer, Boudreau said.

"He's trying to rush things a little bit," Boudreau said. "He wants to get back in. But he's still a little ways away."

*After missing Saturday's game in Edmonton, Shaone Morrisonn appears set to return from a lower-body injury against Buffalo. (More on lower- and upper-body injuries in tomorrow's Post.)

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 22, 2009; 1:40 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: First full practice in days well-attended
Next: Morning roundup: Vague is vogue


What a great Christmas gift by Dainius Zubrus!

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 22, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that Zubrus paid for the team to come see the Caps, given that he hasn't played here in a while.

Posted by: Raber | December 22, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I always did like Zubrus. Now I have another reason to like and admire him. Well done!

Posted by: _Mark | December 22, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Im sure the kids were sad they couldnt get to Philly and meet Mike Richards...

Posted by: SA-Town | December 22, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Did Gordon have to carry the equipment himself to the airport in Seattle? With the bad back?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Im sure the kids were sad they couldnt get to Philly and meet Mike Richards...

Posted by: SA-Town | December 22, 2009 2:16 PM

Can you imagine Carcillo punching those kids?

"Hey, c'mon, they dropped their gloves!"

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

From John Buccigross on

"The Caps really don't have their goaltending settled, but they still keep winning. They are dangerous because, like the Penguins and Hawks, their young players keep improving as they gain experience. A player like Tomas Fleischmann probably will score 30 goals this season. Nicklas Backstrom is on his way to a 90-point season. If this team adds a D-man and settles its goaltending, it could be raising its first Cup in June."

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 22, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - In honor of the holiday season, I recommend this uniform for all new recruits to the Doofus Brigade.

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see whether our goaltending settles, which I think it likely should. Varly's gotta be able to remain healthy, and it would be nice to see Jose put a bunch of great games together. We've got the benefit of a rookie who can get in the groove who already has a couple rounds of SC playoff experience -- there's a novelty.

Posted by: Sonyask | December 22, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Many thanks to you, Tarik, and the rest of the ace team covering the Caps. I love how I can come here for my one-stop shopping for Caps coverage with all the links for outside Caps coverage that I could ever need.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 22, 2009 11:15 AM

I could not agree more. Welcome, Gene, to that ace team. Thanks to all of you wonderful Caps reporters for the fantastic job you continue to do for us, and happy holidays to you as well as to all you Caps fans out there on CI!

Posted by: wocoliz | December 22, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Bucci is right....they re-aired the Caps/Pens series from last Spring. WOW, is all i can say. It was beyond frustrating watching how bad Varly played in that series. I know he had THE save against the Pens in game 1 but he let a handful of soft goals by. Also doesnt help that we had 2 own goals as OT winners for Pittsburgh.

Varly is going to be much improved come playoff time and our younger players are all a notch better.

Its going to come down to staying healthy for the Caps.

Posted by: Redskins2Win | December 22, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Ovi is a Russian national treasure. We are fortunate to have him on loan.

Posted by: zmega | December 22, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

irock: Wasn't that an ad for scotch tape?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Skins2Win, not sure what series you were watching but I thought Varly pretty much carried them in that series last year, they were badly outshot in almost every game and Varly stood on his head. Now game seven is a completely different story, he let three in that should have been stopped, he maybe let in two other softies in the first six....just my opinion but that is the way I saw it.

Posted by: PhilR | December 22, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

That suit allows DB members to be too close to rockin' the red to please me. How about this one?

Posted by: wocoliz | December 22, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

PhilR: I agree. With the exception of Billy Guerin flying in and beating him with a slapshot, most of the Pens goals resulted in one player or another camping out in the crease, eating his lunch, having a beer or two and then tapping in a goal that Varly couldn't get to.

That is, of course, until Game 7.

What the Caps need more than anything is a defensive forward (center) to shadow Crosby and anchor the PK.

Staying healthy would help, as would eliminating unnecessary penalties in the last five minutes of the game.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse


I agree with you about Varly in that series. Game 7 was the only bad game for him out of the playoffs (and it a bad one). Otherwise IMO he kept the Caps in. Varly had some loose rebounds and made other rookie mistakes but he faced an incredible number of shots with great athleticsm and single minded focus.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 22, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

wocoliz: I'm thinking that every brigade needs a band for when it marches. We could maybe have a dozen or so with horns and they could be the Highlander Squad. They would wear the Don Cherry jacket irockthered linked to and they would be sporting matching kilts. Cherry, himself a member of the Brigade, as the Doofus Emeritus, could lead them as conductor.

A jacket, a kilt and ice skates. And no pants. Enjoy that, Don, when the cold wind whips in off Lake Ontario.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

THose kids are here for the Crabtown Showdown tournament (used to be held at the old rink in Annaopolis before they tore it down). A bunch of local teams were scheduled to play them ealier this week, but they were prohibited from doing so because the team had not completed the USA Hockey registration process (roster, birthdates, a $100 check, just basic stuff).

The coach, Ivan Pravilov, is the guy that used to coach Zubrus (hence the sponsorship). He is wanted by Interpol at the moment (might be a political thing) and has quite the bad blog press these days.

Posted by: WhyGo | December 22, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse


You would have loved practice today. The Ukrainian Pee Wee team went out on the ice to have a picture taken with the 4 Russian Caps: Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin, Alexander Valerievich Semin, Semyon Aleksandrovich Varlamov, and Mikhail Davidovich Zyelyonikov.

Posted by: Steakum | December 22, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure that Zubrus and Ovie are still friends. He really helped out Ovie that first season, remember? Zubrus is a great person, IMO.

Posted by: WhyGo | December 22, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree that getting a forward who is a top PK guy would be a great addition. Those are guys who are usually available at the trade deadline for a small amount too.

However, I would also like that forward to be a great forechecker who can cycle the puck. I like our 4th line and they are good but they are not great at cycling the puck in the pffensive zone such as the Ulf Dahlen, Halpern line or Dale Hunter.

Being able to do that is a very good way to play defense. If you get a 4th line that can play good defense, forecheck, and cycle the puck then you throw them out against the top offensive line.

Those lines are also good at creating energy and noise when things are not going in a teams favor.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 22, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1, excellent point. The kilt makes all the difference. :-) Too bad I'm a complete incompetent with Photoshop and such--I'd love to see as well as imagine the full effect.

Thanks, too, for all your salary cap and roster analysis. It makes my head hurt too, but I'm learning a lot from you and the other folks who are good enough to post facts, figures, and cogent analyses of what we have and what we need. (And for the delicious prickly pear margarita recipe!)

Posted by: wocoliz | December 22, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

And thanks for the recipe, too, I mean. (I need to order more syrup.)

Posted by: wocoliz | December 22, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse


Thank you for the picture of the day -- made me laugh. A silly disappointment from childhood was a gift exchange in 2nd grade where I took in the really cool princess style play telephone.

What did I receive? A box of chocolate covered cherries, which I hated! When I saw that picture of Don Cherry, that is exactly what came to mind.

Posted by: Steakum | December 22, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse


I wonder how many would have "loved" watching the coach of those children you mentioned, if they had first read this horrendous accounting of child abuse in youth hockey.

Posted by: WhyGo | December 22, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The Caps are very close. Last year with the exception of oft-injured Gonchar the Pens won the cup with no name D plus Hal Gill! The goaltender Fleury was the difference. CONSIDER THIS: So far Washington has had a lead in every game this season except for one shutout loss a Buffalo. This team is that close to dominating the league. Even a nominal improvement in either goaltending, defence, penalty killing, or team health and no team will be tied with them in standings. As a 30 year Caps follower - wow - this is a dream come true. The best is yet to come. Happy holidays Everyone!

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | December 22, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

sgm3: By definition, the guy I want would also be a puck cycler and forechecker. I have been saying for over a month we need a Kelly Miller type. Then JSchon pointed out how we don't really have a third line center and joek443 pointed out the need for a PK forward and it all came together.

A poor man's Pavel Datsyuk would be perfect - third line center; excellent faceoff skills; first line player on PK; always on ice in the last minute when up by a goal; and his line would be on the ice for the other team's top line.

You want this player not just as rental but going forward into next season. This player is a necessary component on a perennial Cup contender, just as you must have a grinder, a sniper, a set-up guy, a garbage goal getter, etc.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse


I am curious about what you said about the Ukrainian team and the Crabtown Tournament. My son's Pee Wee team is playing in it, but it starts next Sunday, Dec. 27.

Posted by: Steakum | December 22, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

That's right, the tournament is after Christmas. The other games I wrote about were last week and this week. USA Hockey liability insurance prohibits playing foreign teams (except Canadian) that are not sanctioned.

Click the links I provided, read some stuff on your own and decide for yourself what the truth is.

Posted by: WhyGo | December 22, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The suggestions for the Doofus Brigade uniforms made me laugh out loud! (ever notice that the initials for Doofus Brigade bring to mind another apt term for these people? Pardon the juvenile humor today!)

Welcome to Gene Wang. You're off to a great start (last thread), and along with Tarik and Lindsay you will keep us hooked up to the Caps info that we crave.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 22, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The Caps lost to Pittsburgh, plain and simple, because the power plays were 37 them and 19 us.

Like it or lump it, that's why we lost.

And I'm not insinuating why the PP numbers were so lopsided. No way on God's white ice surface would I ever insinuate why the PP's were so lopsided. Never. Ever.

In a related note, Bill McCreary has been drafted into the Doofus Brigade as an MP.

(His Brigade status needs to be added to his Wiki biography.)

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse


The reference to "loved" was that CapsFan75 would probably find it amusing that Green stood in with the Russian players for the picture with the Ukrainian kids.

I have read about abuse in youth hockey and it is horrifying (Fleury book). All 3 of our boys play, but it is different here than playing at a high level (or hoped for high level) in Canada and other places where kids leave home at 13 or 14. I personally could not stomach that for my boys even if they were that good. Certainly, I expect the stories of abuse are the exception, and not the rule, but should be 0.

Posted by: Steakum | December 22, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

That is funny. I missed it totally because of my distraction by the background story on this teams coach.

Posted by: WhyGo | December 22, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

So many wonderful youth coaches volunteer thier time and effort the world over. Let's lift our mugs to them and pan those that choose to go outside the lines of civilized behavior.

Posted by: WhyGo | December 22, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

How many times have the Pens been shut out this year? They seem to take nights off...

Posted by: SA-Town | December 22, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse


I agree, now who is out there of that sort that might be available come the deadline?

I would prefer that the guy is not old and at the end of his career. I have no idea who would be the player to fill this role.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 22, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

wocoliz: New recipe! The widow lady up the street never picks her grapefruits so I did a midnight requisition. Two large ruby reds; three oranges from my tree; 4 fresh limes.

8 oz Cuervo and 2 oz each triple sec and Cointreau. Shaken, not stirred!

If this has an official drink name, I don't know what it is. So I call it, "Stolen Grapefruit Margaritas."

And I'll lift my mug as WhyGo suggests as soon as I get home!

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Man, I grew up in FLA. I miss picking those grapefruits and tangerines on cold winter nights (they turn sweet when it gets cold).


Posted by: WhyGo | December 22, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

this team could sure use Zubie on the PK right now.

Posted by: joek443 | December 22, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

sgm3: JSchon recommends Saku Koivu. His lifetime +/- isn't so hot, so I'm not sure.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 -- shame on you for even suggesting that a team might garner more penalties because of who they are.

BTW, the Pens have the second most power play opportunities than any other team (one behind the Stars). Surely a coincidence.

Fortunately they are not good at converting.

Posted by: Sonyask | December 22, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse


While I agree the Caps are close and a contender, the Pens D was not "no name and Hal Gill." It was Scuderi, Gonchar (who was injured after Ovi hit him), Orpik and Letang were a solid bunch.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 22, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I do not think Saku Koivu would fill that role too well. I was thinking a little more of a grinder who is excellent on the boards.

It's hard to come up with guys on other teams who fill that role since I don't watch too many other games and you do not read too much about these guys.

I would say a guy who plays like Sean Avery did against us last year in the playoffs, minus the crazy penalties and self promotion.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 22, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

MMMMMMMMMMM. That sounds GOOD. And as it turns out, I can actually make a batch of those this evening. Unfortunately, though, my grapefruit isn't stolen--mr. wocoliz bought a half-box each of Indian River's finest grapefruits and oranges, and that sounds like a DELICIOUS way of using some of them up. Many thanks to you and the widow lady!

Posted by: wocoliz | December 22, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Widow lady, eh? Does MrsTom know about this "midnight requisition"? Just kidding :)

Posted by: tess2201 | December 22, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

tess2201: Yes, mrstominfl1 is well aware that I've been squeezing the widow's grapefruits.

Heh, heh, heh.

Last year I ended up picking about 50, most of which were hanging over the fence to the common area. The rest I reached in. A few of those went to cocktails, but most were comsumed by the ladies in the house for breakfast.

The widow's husband used to eat them, but since he died most of them rot. This tree probably makes 200 grapefruits a year. A real waste to let them go bad.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't think having a true goaltending tandem in the regular season is a bad thing at all for us. It keeps both goalies rested and fresh and, if one is having a bad night, the other one jumps in and is ready to go, and this team is pretty good at getting itself out of a hole if they decide that they can and they want to. Letting Theodore carry the bulk of the starts and giving Varly the playoffs can't hurt.

We might need one more D man, but then it's also possible that Alzner is that Dman. Going out and buying the biggest name on the block because we can is a blindingly stupid move that only a fantasy geek or the Oilers could pull.

As for why we lost, I look at:

* PP chances. No comment on these.
* Exhaustion and injuries. Can we please not take every series to game 7 this time kthxbai?
* Net presence / lack of it. Kicking guys out of the crease, and camping in it ourselves, could be a big difference maker.
* Goaltending. Goaltending steals series and steals cups. Known fact. Varly had a rough start in Game 7.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 22, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

wocoliz: BTW, you can add a little prickly pear syrup, about 1-2 oz, if you have any. You can taste first before doing that, if you want, because maybe the OJ does enough sweetening.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Tominfl1: LOL! Wikipedia is showing McCreary's status (one too many "recently"s on the last sentence. Excellent!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 22, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse


The 4 russian caps? Am I missing something?

Who is Mikhail Davidovich Zyelyonikov??

Posted by: 202-206 | December 22, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Mikhail Davidovich Zyelyonikov

My guess is Micheal David "Mike" Green.

What is Russian for Thomas? Name origin is Hebrew I think. The Orthodox church made Doubting Thomas a saint, so the name is found in Orthodox and Catholic countries. Flash spells his name same as in German. My wife is Greek and they all call me "Tho-ma."

Of course you have Peeping Tom; Tom, Tom the Piper's Son; Tom Foolery; Tom Thumb; Uncle Tom; and, my favorite, Nostra Thomas.

"I predict, at least once, in 2010, Bruce Boudreau will lose his temper with an official."

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse


Mikhail Davidovich Zyelyonikov is the Russian form of Mike Green's name. Given that Zyelyonikov is the surname based on the Russian word for Green. And Green's father is named David so that's how we did his patronymic.

Funny thing, Steakum is not the first person who Russianized Mike's name for CI. When Ranndino suggested letting the Russians borrow MG for the Olympics, I posted something in reply dubbing him as Mikhail Davidovich Zelenkov.

BTW, does the Cyrillic form for Zelenkov include the umlauts which would make it Zyelyonikov (as Steakum called him) when transcribed to our alphabet?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse


Your guess on MDZ is correct. It's Mike Green, in Russian.

A Russian form of Thomas is Foma.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

And the prize goes to . . . tominfl1! (And thanks to CapsFan75 for first Russianizing MDG.) Now if Nicky had only joined the group . . .

Posted by: Steakum | December 22, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

So, everyone, the Russian equivalent of Tomas Fleischmann is Foma Myanikov. (Don't know Flash's father's name so I can't derive a patronymic.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse


I did that with you in mind. If you had seen it, I am sure you would have thought it!

Posted by: Steakum | December 22, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse


On Nicky, I've figured out that the suffix "strom" in Swedish means "stream". I don't know what the prefix "Back" means, although I believe the "a" is an umlauted character.

Anyone know Swedish here? Once we figure that out, then we can figure out the Russian equivalent.

Well, he would Nikolai Andreievich for first name and patronymic.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse


We need to figure it out, but his real first name is Lars!

Posted by: Steakum | December 22, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse


I read your post on MDG taking pictures with the Russian Caps and the Ukrainian kids. It's funny that a Lithuanian ex-Cap sponsors Ukrainian kids to see the Caps. (Gee, send them to see the Caps instead of his current team, the NJ Devils.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse


Lavrenti Andreievich is Nikki (unless we use Nikolai since that's the name he uses).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

As much as I am enjoying the Flyers' suffering, their situation does present a cautionary tale. I doubt that I was the only one who thought that the addition of Pronger would make them very dangerous. But the chemistry was not right,and we all see the results. The Caps seem to have good team chemistry, so a lot of thought is going to have to go into determining who to bring in, so as not to disrupt that chemistry.

Posted by: zmega | December 22, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse


Zubrus having them here is probably several things: they were here for a tournament (according to a poster) they could not play in, wanted to see the "best" player in the world, and a good relationship still there. I liked Zubie.

Posted by: Steakum | December 22, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Only word I know in Swedish is "Svedka."

In Spanish I know, "Taco Grande."

In French I know, "Sacre bleu!"

And in Latin I know "maximus" for a large beer and "minimus" for a little one.

That's about it.

I don't like "Foma." Sounds like an industrial product, not a name.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse


Sorry, Tom, about "Foma" being the Russian equivalent of your name. That's what they'd call you in Russian. Guess the Russians aren't much for the "Th" sound. Even the name Theodore over there is "Feodor" for the first name and Fedorov, the last name version of it.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Gosh I don't even know where to begin except I had such fun reading this thread just now. Hmm grapefruits-- have some of those but I had to pay a widow lady in Texas for them. Hmm goaltending I'm happy to just follow the season to its conclusion to see who is our playoff goalie is but I feel pretty good about our situation. Hmm nasty youth hockey coaching--not on my son's home squad Squirts thank goodness. His coaches are great. Comparisons with the Pens--well they are a great
team but I absolutely think we can beat them. We are more disciplined more aware and have even better team chemistry this season, a team with more maturity and experience. So bring it on......! I have faith and confidence in this Caps team. What else? Hmmm great uniforms for the doofus brigade. Loved the Caps update and so glad that Varly had a strong practice and is healing nicely. Go Caps!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 22, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I did some research on Swedish names and found out "back" with the Umlaut means brook or stream. While strom is stream. So, we combine brook and stream (or stream with stream). Possibly the equivalent of a river. If we assume that Backstrom means river, the Russian form is Reka. If we assume it means stream, the Russian word is Potok. I tacked on the "ov" suffix to Potok and, sure enough, discovered it's a legitimate Russian surname.

So, here we go: Nikolai Andreievich Potokov is the Russian equivalent for Nicky B's name. But if we'd rather use Lars as the first name, he would be Lavrenti Andreievich Potokov. Andrei is, of course, the Russian equivalent of Anders, which is his father's name.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse


Zubie sounds like a great guy. Ovi really liked him, too. He was Ovi's roommate his first year here.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse


Along with the fact of who to "take away" from our team in the team chemistry department.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse


I love it! Now we'll really confuse people with a 5th Russian.

Posted by: Steakum | December 22, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

CF75: Well, if the Russian language is missing a "Th," my guess is that the language was invented (or, "inwented," as they would say) by a hockey player missing his front teeth.

As for the Caps' roster going forward, it is like the proverbial row of dominos. Once one of them falls, they will begin clicky-clacking ever faster.

Backstrom; Semin; Flash; Fehr; Schultz; Steckel; and maybe BMo, for next year.

Laich; Varly; Neuvy; Alzner; Bradley; Erskine; Perreault, the following year.

That's 13 players. Now imagine 13 players splitting a case of beer. As soon as one player takes a second beer, somebody has to get only one.

Ovi got 4 of them.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 22, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

There was a lot of talk yesterday about Kovy - with some saying he wouldn't "fit" with the Caps. As a Thrashers season ticket holder let me tell you something:

1. Kovy is a SUBLIME talent.
2. He would be a FANTASTIC fit to ANY team.
3. His stickhandling is out of this world; his speed and shot are amazing.
4. He's also a great community guy.
5. He wears the "C" for a reason: he's completely unselfish and comes back hard to play D.
6. Best of all, he's got a mean streak - anyone who saw him chase ex-Cap Matt Cooke down half the rink to pummel him after a blatant trip knows what I'm talking about.
7. He's said repeatedly he wants to stay in Atlanta.
8. GM Waddell's job is on the line in making that happen.
9. It's too bad that he's not going anywhere 'cause he'd make a great Cap with all his fellow Russians.
10. Look out, we may see him in the playoffs.

PS. Bogosian's not going anywhere, either. (Would we deal our best young talent, say Backstrom? No way.)

PPS. Ron Hainsey is awesome: gritty and tough. Now THAT's who I'd like to see on the Caps.

Posted by: CAP-lanta | December 22, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

we call Thomas as Tom most of the time. or just Tom[as]. not [th] just [t] =)

seems like russians still have their teeths :P

Posted by: Rambutan_ru | December 22, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

it's not a question of Kovalchuk being a "good fit" with the Caps... the question is why when you already have Ovie.

to use a football comparison, if you had Jim Brown or Adrian Peterson at RB, would you really need to go after Walter Payton or Emmit Smith??

Posted by: joek443 | December 22, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse


why would Kovalchuk ask for 11M from Atlanta?

I strongly believe that it is just for leaving it. is he worth 9M? probably not. will anybody give him 9M? probably not. so why would he ask for 11M?

I believe we can get him at summer if we don't resign Semin (~6M for any of them)

only if he will not make an extension with Thrashers (ask yourself who is in control in this situation and what does that person WANT? money or cup?)

Posted by: Rambutan_ru | December 22, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

@ joek443

isn't Kovy like more motivated, stable and healthier version of Semin? and not that enigmatic as a bonus

Posted by: Rambutan_ru | December 22, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

@ Rambutan_ru

maybe he is or maybe he isn't, it really doesn't matter to me. whether or not this team will be playing till june depends on their defense, not their offense.

if I was gonna trade Semin to Atlanta, the player I would want in return would be Bogosian, not Kovalchuk.

Posted by: joek443 | December 22, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Well you can forget about getting Bogosian. Bogo and Kane and Pavelec are the young core, ATL will build upon.

Posted by: CAP-lanta | December 22, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

More Kovalchuk dreams? Since we are building our Caps fantasy roster, I'd like to add Datysuk, Weber, and Miller to the team. I'm sure they could be acquired for Jurcina, Sloan, and s 2nd. (O with slash through it)

@ Rambutan_ru

Kovalchuk is Atlanta's franchise player and worth every bit of $9 million to them. Even if Atlanta decides not to pay him, Kovy would get much more than $6 million from other teams. Why would Kovy take a discount to play here when Ovi and Backstrom are getting paid market value?

Another interesting point is that many of the same complaints Caps fans have about Semin are leveled at Kovy as well. Many have said that Kovy is an offensive only player, who is unmotivated at times, goes through scoring slumps and is a real threat to leave for the KHL. I don't believe this is the case with either. Professional athletes are not robots and will have off nights. I'd just be curious as to what Caps fans would say if a $7 million Kovy didn't bring it 82+ games.


I agree. I would only trade Semin for a defensive stud, but not in conference. I wouldn't want to see him against the Caps 4-6 times a year.

Posted by: ablake70 | December 22, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - Or perhaps this one would be more appropriate?

@CapsFan75 - and his middle name really *is* David, too. :-)

@tominfl1 - I hereby dub Bill McCreary "The Blind Walrus," Doofus Supreme, and present this image as proof of his ancestry for the requisite number of generations required for Doofus Supreme status....

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse


It's interesting they say the same stuff in Atlanta about Kovy as they do about Semin here.

On Kovy -- I would say if Atlanta can't sign him, they might as well close up shop. While they are certainly getting other good players, they need Kovy if they want to stay in contention for next year and beyond.

(I'm surprised they don't say the same crap about Mike Richards in Philadelpha as they do about Semin here. Their stats are nearly identical. I recall Richards was really hot early in the year and then he hasn't done as well).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

P.S.- McCreary will not be refereeing the playoffs this season; his retirement goes into effect at the end of the regular season. :-D

Posted by: irockthered | December 22, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse


Yes, that is true on Green. His middle name is David, which is his father's first name. Hence, the Mikhail Davidovich Zelenkov thing works so well for him.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered & tominfla

So now Cherry can say, "I am the walrus". (Cue to old Beatles song by that name)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 22, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Re: Doofus Brigade Marching Band - Here is the tartan I recommend to go with that jacket... it should look lovely blowin' in the wind, don't'cha think?

Posted by: irockthered | December 23, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75 - Koo koo ka-choo?

Yep! That shall be his Theme Song, and he must be followed wherever he goes by the Doofus Brigade Marching Cherries in full regalia.

Posted by: irockthered | December 23, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

...along with their instruments...

Posted by: irockthered | December 23, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah. I am in a SERIOUSLY silly mood tonight!

Posted by: irockthered | December 23, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Good going, Zubrus.

Schultz and Shaon Morrison need to be off the team. They suck at playing D and the Caps have good young guys coming along. Time to give them more ice time.

Posted by: la_terp | December 23, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

irock: It wouldn't open to the site with instruments, but I was thinking later our Highland Squad, conducted by Don Cherry, wearing that tartan, would have bagpipes.

Cherry ordering, "Blow, men, blow!"

And, yes, McCreary can be Doofus Supreme, in charge of the MPs and the animals in the brigade. Obviously the walruses would be part of the amphibious assault team.

So now we have Cherry conducting; the bagpipers piping; the Doofuses marching; and the walruses sliding along with McCreary at their side.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Schultz isn't going anywhere. He's had a rough couple of games but he is the bargain, reliable stay at home defensemen every team needs. I'm not saying the Caps don't need to seek more assistance on the blue line to win the Cup(s), but Schultz is not one of the boys headed for the door.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 23, 2009 6:26 AM | Report abuse

@ ablake70

so what do you suggest? resigning Semin? ok, I'm all for that but it seems not to be that easy

how can we sign both Semin and that new veteran reliable defensive defenseman?

and you better start forgetting KHL - nor Semin neither Kovalchuk will sign there

and please name the team(s) which will come to agreement with Kovalchuk for 9M. I doubt he will reach that.

Posted by: Rambutan_ru | December 23, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Don't know if this has been posted in this thread, but some background on the Ukranian kids.

Posted by: rbluesw | December 23, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

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